Frightening! Hepatitis B on the increase

More than 10 cases of the hepatitis b virus were recorded out of over 200 women who attended the camp ‘My life My health’ on Saturday December 5 at Makerere University Rugby grounds.

Dr. Simon Kazibwe of Case talking about Hepatitis B
Dr. Simon Kazibwe of Case talking about Hepatitis B

Dr. Simon Kazibwe head of general doctors at Case hospital who carried out hepatitis B screening of more than 100 women says that hepatitis B is on the increase and is about 10 percent more deadly than HIV/Aids and most prevalent with a 20 percent. Previously, it was more prevalent in Northern.

“If you are not vaccinated then your chances of getting this virus are very high. Women should test for this virus because it kills faster than HIV and spreads through fluids like saliva and urine,” he adds. The vaccine at Case hospital costs Shs 40,000.

Hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body for at least 7 days. During this time, the virus can still cause infection if it enters the body of a person who is not protected by the vaccine. It’s also spread by exposure to infected blood and various body fluids, as well as through saliva, menstrual, vaginal, and seminal fluids. Transmission of the virus may also occur through the reuse of needles and syringes either in health-care settings or among persons who inject drugs.

The Regional Police Commander, SP Wesley Ngamizi, says that the camp will help to keep their officers from suffering from illnesses such as hepatitis B among other infections because exercise is about self discipline.

Solomon Oyebode of ClapperHouse encouraging one of the police officer to test for HIV
Solomon Oyebode of ClapperHouse encouraging one of the police officer to test for HIV

“The nature of our work requires that we have enough stamina to do our work because basing on medical belief, physical exercise can truly keep a doctor at bay,” explains Ngamizi.

Dr. David Ogaram the technical Director of Uganda Safety Council appeals to Ugandans to begin making use of exercise and good nutrition in a bid to keep away from diseases.


Most people do not experience any symptoms during the acute infection phase. However, some people have acute illness with symptoms that last several weeks, including yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), itchy skin, bruises, dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. A small subset of persons with acute hepatitis can develop acute liver failure which can lead to death.

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is a major global health problem. It can cause chronic infection and puts people at high risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer.

There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B. Chronic hepatitis B infection can be treated with drugs, including oral antiviral agents.

WHO recommends the use of oral treatments – tenofovir or entecavir, because these are the most potent drugs to suppress hepatitis B virus. They rarely lead to drug resistance as compared with other drugs, are simple to take (1 pill a day), and have few side effects so requires limited monitoring.

There is still limited access to diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B in many resource-constrained settings, and many people are diagnosed only when they already have advanced liver disease. Liver cancer progresses rapidly, and since treatment options are limited, the outcome is in general poor.


The hepatitis B vaccine is the basis of hepatitis B prevention. WHO recommends that all infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. All children and adolescents younger than 18 years-old and not previously vaccinated should receive the vaccine if they live in countries where they are at risk.

My Life Health and Fitness programme was initiated by ClapperHouse Limited in partnership with Ministry of Health and other major stakeholders such as KCCA, Rwenzori, Cancer Institute, Case Clinic, Uganda Police, Nnabagereka Development Foundation and Colgate.

ClapperHouse is specialized in developing concepts and campaigns within the health and sporting sector. This initiative is aimed at improving the health of citizens through physical exercises, nutritional   assessment, health checkups and other health improvement activities. By extension to push the culture of fitness, wellness and nutrition onto political, corporate and public agendas through local media.

This project was launched on the 2nd of August, 2015 at Mandela National stadium. The weekly programme has been hosted at Nakivubo stadium and currently takes place at the Makerere University Rugby grounds every Saturday from to 10am.

Since the programme commenced the following has been screened on a weekly basis, Diabetes, Blood pressure, Hepatitis B, HIV, Dental and cervical cancer. The response has been quite encouraging with the leadership of the Uganda Police mobilizing its officers and men to participate in fitness drills and check up. Participants diagnosed with diseases or complications after screening are referred to the medical team or medical institutions of their choice. On an average 5-6 cases are discovered on weekly bases. We are planning  a Non Communicable Disease awareness concert schedule for next April 2016 to further sensitize the public on the dangers of non communicable disease and the need to engage in physical exercise and maintain a healthy diet.

Until recently, the hepatitis B vaccine has only been available for medical personnel and children under five years in government hospitals free of charge. Uganda is highly endemic with 10% national prevalence of hepatitis B infection, rates varying across the country from 4% in the southwest and 25% in the Northeast according to reports.

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